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About Public Housing

Public housing was established to provide decent, safe and affordable rental housing for eligible low-income families, elderly and seniors, and persons with disabilities. Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered single family houses to high-rise apartments for the elderly and seniors. There are approximately 1.3 million households living in public housing units, managed by some 3,300 Housing Authorities. (HAs)

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administers Federal Aide to local HAs, including the Watertown Housing Authority, to provide decent shelter for low-income residents at rents they can afford. HUD furnishes technical and professional assistance in planning, developing and managing these developments. The Watertown Housing Authority is your local Public Housing Agency. (PHA)

What is the role of the Housing Authority?

A Housing Authority is responsible for the management and operation of its local public housing program. They may also operate other types of housing programs.

On going functions:

• Assure compliance with leases. The lease must be signed by both parties
• Set other charges (e.g. security deposits, excess utility consumption and damages to the unit.)
• Perform periodic reexaminations of the family’s income at least once every 12 months
• Transfer families from one unit to another in order to correct over/under crowding, repair or renovate a dwelling, or because of a resident’s request to be transferred (pending availability).
• Terminate leases when necessary
• Maintain the developments in a decent, safe, and sanitary condition.

Who is Eligible?

Public housing is limited to low-income families and individuals. Your eligibility is based on the following:

1. Annual Gross Income
2. Whether you qualify as elderly/senior, a person with a disability, or as a family.
3. U.S. Citizenship or eligible immigration status
4. Landlord References / Criminal Background Checks

To determine eligibility the WHA will check all of the applicant’s references to make sure the applicant and their family will be good quality tenants. The WHA will deny admission to any applicant whose habits and practices may be expected to have a detrimental effect on the well being of other tenants or on the environment of the community or property. The WHA uses income limits developed by HUD. HUD sets the lower income limits at 80% and very low income limits at 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which you choose to live. Income limits vary from area to area so you may be eligible at one HA but not another.